Rooted Oaks International came to life through a shared passion for seeing children living the flourishing lives they were designed for.
Antoine and Anna met in 2016 on Rwandan soil. He had been pastoring The Vineyard Church of Rwanda for 7 years at the time of their meeting. She was answering God’s call to travel to Rwanda. Little did she know why or what a wild ride answering that call would place her on.
Anna didn’t know why she was in Rwanda, but Antoine was quick to propose a reason why. That reason being to partner with him and The Vineyard Church to invest in children living in the community without any means of gaining an education. It was an interesting proposal that spoke deeply to her heart. She had been working and serving in her home church, the Duluth Vineyard, for nearly 8 years in the area of children’s ministry. During that time her conviction that God had made her to work with and serve children grew drastically. It was what she was made for, but in what capacity she did not know. Until she traveled to Rwanda and met Antoine.
When they met Antoine was pastoring, as well as working as a lawyer in Kigali. He and his wife were raising two kids in the community of the church they were leading. Their heart was for the people of that community. They started a small store to invest more deeply into the lives of the people. Antoine would travel the community daily, and his heart would break at the number of school aged children who weren’t in school because their families could not afford it.
As he showed Anna around the community during that first meeting he explained this heart, as well as the challenges of poverty within their community. He spoke about the power education has to break the chains of poverty. The Vineyard Church had only months prior started The Vineyard Nursery School with ten children. His vision was for a school that would one day serve hundreds of families.
He invited Anna into seeing this vision become reality through the development of an advocacy ministry. To find people throughout her community willing to financially partner with families so children would be able to attend school. It was here that Bana Munsange Ministries began to take root. It was this shared desire to see children nurtured, invested in, and growing into thriving human beings. They both desired for every child to know they were loved, valued, and mattered.
The ministry began with ten children and today has almost 100 either matched with advocates or waiting for one to invest in them. We have been amazed at all God has been doing and are excited to see what he continues to lead us to.
in 2019, with a growing vision Antoine and Anna decided to change the name of the ministry to Rooted Oaks International. That name being inspired by Isaiah 61:3:
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a plant of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
That being the vision for the entire ministry. We want to see all who come in contact with us empowered to live that life of splendor God desires for them. As well as to feel encouraged to dream big and chase after those dreams. Our desire is to see all children, families, donors, leaders, and followers developing roots that grow deep in the soil of God’s love.
After making it through the challenges that COVID has thrown at us we are excited to be growing and expanding in 2022. The official name switch took place at the beginning of the year. We are also expanding to serve the caregivers and adults in our community more intentionally.
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